What's Up with the Boil Size in Recipe Builder

Discussion in 'Recipe Editor' started by Nosybear, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I just started a new recipe and found some new stuff in the Boil Size arena. Two questions:

    - What the heck is it and what is it calculating? The help on the item is very unclear. If this item is set.... What item?
    - Why do we need it? In other words, what was wrong with just the batch and boil size numbers. If I think about it really hard (and I don't want to), I can imagine what this is attempting to do: If I'm losing wort from the kettle to the fermentor, then my "end boil size" would affect OG and IBUs. Can I humbly suggest that, for those of us not interested in scientific precision in our brewing, that we can hide that "post" field and Calc button?

    upload_2019-8-6_11-5-14.png

    In the past, if I'm interpreting the field correctly, this loss was accounted for in the Kettle losses in the defaults. If this is calculated from the defaults, I can see having it.... I don't see it as an improvement in the software.
     
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  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I'll take a stab... We don't... and... Nothing.
    Just another bell or whistle that adds no real value, confuses the newbies and forces the need to re-configure existing recipes. I had hoped that we were sort of done with multiple rounds of added clutter for a while but that was foolish of me, I guess. :rolleyes:
     
  3. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Agree with JA. This is one improvement I'd like to request to have rolled back. I'm sure there are some engineers for whom the info is of the utmost importance. This engineer is not one of them. Please roll this "improvement" back.
     
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  4. Pricelessbrewing

    Pricelessbrewing QA Software Tester
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    The changes were in response to the *use equipment boil size* option that was using calculated pre and post boil volumes,and changing the og formula to be based on the new (hidden) preboil volume. This option was under the >more section and was doing some fairly strange and non intuitive things.

    Personally I'd prefer the post boil volume to be just a calculated value from the preboil volume, and equipment, and not a user input.

    https://www.brewersfriend.com/forum...er-volumes-and-use-equipment-boil-size.11715/
     
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  5. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    So would we.
     
  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    It seems to want to recalculate the post boil volume base on boil time which is handy for building the recipe but it doesn't communicate the difference in boil time to the brew session, even after editing to rebuild the session. I used to be able to count on water requirements matching up once I got my system settings dialed in. Now I'll have to spend time figuring out how the changes impact the brew session.
    I'm pretty tired of having to reconfigure stuff and re-work my process every other time I brew. I don't know who all these changes are supposed to benefit but there hasn't been much that hasn't just caused extra hassle for me. This used to be a slick editor with an easy interface. It had a good set of features and was relatively intuitive to work with. Now, every time I turn around, there's another "improvement" to bog down my process. Thanks for nothing.
     
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  7. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Brewers Friend = Beta.
     
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  8. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Yeah...it's been a hassle to use the live site for the forum and the beta for building recipes but that's been the best work-around. For the life of me I can't figure out why it's better to screw around with the live version and make round after round of changes before the bugs are worked out.
     
  9. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    This was not a bug, it was intentional. Change does not equal improvement.
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I am fairly handy with Excel and am considering building my own Recipe Builder to avoid improvements that, as JA says, bog down my process.
     
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  11. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    We hear you loud and clear, and we know that we all dislike change.

    The honest truth is that, previously, the calculations were flat out wrong if you had any non boiloff losses from kettle to fermenter. For example, if you had some hops absorption, excess trub loss (like tons of pellet hops), wort left in the chiller, etc- anything at all that wasn't a boil off loss- the OG calculations were incorrect.

    This isn’t just a bell or whistle featire, this is required in order to accurately calculate OG with losses like that.

    This is something that we did not add lightly or without much thought. We heard from many brewers who were dismayed that their preboil gravity was correct, and sometimes even their post gravity was, and the volume would be incorrect. Or they always nailed their preboil gravity, but every time they had a weird result for the post-boil gravity. To many Brewer’s Friend members, this input is required in order to calculate correctly.

    When I brewed the other day, I didn't use the 'calc' feature. I simply put in my boil volume, and my volume into the fermenter, and got the exact gravity readings I needed for my efficiency and my system.

    The "old" way may have worked for quite a few of you, our loyal members, and we appreciate that. But the 'new' way really isn't all that new for most of us. I HATE change, and I did just fine last week on my brewday with it. Not much really changed, except now you can input your non-boil losses more exactly by using those simple volume boxes. Please try it, see how it works for you, and let us know.

    We take all of the feedback very seriously, and are listening to all you have to say.
     
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  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Instructions? The help feature is decidedly unhelpful.
     
  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Any way we could branch off, say a simple recipe builder for us chefs and those of us who can run a calculator, and one for the engineers wanting everything calculated correctly to six significant digits? The attraction of Brewer's Friend has always been the intuitive interface with enough power under the hood that a user could get good predictions by setting defaults. You're losing that with these "improvements" that serve a vocal 10% of users. I've been able to hit my fermentor volumes and gravities very accurately using simple fermentor volume and adjustments in my profile. And to be fair, I haven't complained much about improvements up to now. And as a life member, you lose nothing if I take my recipes elsewhere, I understand that as well. So how about building a "simple" recipe builder for those of us who like consistency and aren't worried about six-digit precision?
     
  14. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand why, time and time again, none of this is explained or pointed out prior to implementation. Not a word til the troops rally.
     
  15. Pricelessbrewing

    Pricelessbrewing QA Software Tester
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    Obviously if you know me at all, I fall heavily on the engineer (show me all the numbers) side.

    Like @Yooper said, this update was needed to accurately model essential recipe stats, gravities, ibus etc and corrected previously unknown errors.

    I think it could reduce the likelihood of incorrect inputs by making that cell a calculated value only, and removing the "calc" button.

    As far as changelogs on beta version and live version, I think two quick starting points could be

    1) Display a version number at the top somewhere visible, or the last updated date stamp with a link to the relevant entry in the changelog.

    2) Any changes made to the beta, post in the forum, subject: "date/version and short title of change"

    Then beta members can comment / provide feedback etc. Before pushing the changes to the live site.
     
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  16. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    While I personally don't have a problem with most of the changes made, I can totally understand the arguments made about adding complexity to the software that could and possibly does confuse new brewers and add extra steps that some feel just aren't needed. That said, I've used another very popular brewing software that is in my opinion, way more complicated to use, and lots less user friendly, and takes a pretty big learning curve to get everything set up right. All the instructional videos out there on how to set up said software further proves the point imo.
    I don't like how changes made to BF are simply implemented with not a word. No communication. No explanation. No instruction. Nothing. Just a change. We've been down this road before, and things were supposed to change on how things were implemented, but so far, that doesn't seem to be the case.
    Updated software needed or not, there needs to be communication.
    BF seems more concerned about adding to the costumer base and less concerned about the long time paying costumer base.
     
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  17. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    The new function does seem to offer a point of convenience in terms of calculating the post-boil size as it relates to the fermenter volume and it does take into account the boil time which makes for convenient calculation within the editor. However, it calculates from a user-input pre-boil that derives from a setting in general profile rather than equipment profile so unless you back out the batch size based on system losses and enter an accurate number, your volumes don't ultimately match up. If the pre-boil figure derived from default equipment settings and changed with batch size so that all the water requirements generated in the Brew log were automatically correlated that would be great. As it is, there are some values that communicate with the Brew log and some that don't. I end up going back and forth several times to get a recipe and brew log to agree so that I have an accurate record both within the editor and brew log. It doesn't seem to be a unified system and this new feature is just another thing to figure out how to work with or work around for anyone who actually counts on the system to accommodate serious brewing and record keeping.

    I understand that the goal is to make a better product but it seems to be happening in such a piecemeal fashion that we just have to figure out how to incorporate randomly-occurring changes in order to keep any consistency in our process.

    I feel like I'm always being negative when I get involved in these conversations so I'll just bow out and let others hash it out.
     
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  18. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I just pulled up one of my old recipes and found the new input there. Its value was zero and that did not seem to be affecting the calculations of OG, IBUs, etc. So things might go a little better if the following were true:
    - We knew it was coming. Surprises, particularly for long time users, are always uncomfortable. Given some of the implementations in the past, we are always concerned that the change breaks something important. So when we see a new button or window, it causes some anxiety.
    - We knew what it did. I opened this recipe: https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/834836/biere-de-garde. It is a 5-gallon recipe, 90 minute boil, initial boil size 6.5 gallons. I have my boil rate set at 4 qt/hr. That should put 5.5 gallons in the kettle after the 60 minute boil - 6.5 - 1 = 5.5. The "calc" button arrived at that value. I changed the boil duration to 90 minutes. The "calc" button now gives me 5 gallons in the kettle after 60 minutes. So now I know what it does. It multiplies the boil-off rate times the boil duration and subtracts that from the boil size. Now here's the scary part: I have kettle losses and a shrinkage percentage set in my equipment profile that were not reflected in this calculation! More useful would be to work from fermentor volume back to original volume and gravity needed.
    - We knew why it was added. This is frightenly simple math and I quite frankly don't see the need for it. If it's predictive, good luck with that. The relative humidity on brew day has an effect on the boil-off rate, as does brewing in windy conditions, as does the intensity of the flame, as does the actual humidity of the hops, so much so that the simple math implemented by the button is mostly meaningless, unless someone is brewing in completely controlled conditions.
    - We had the opportunity to opt out. The changes to the fermentables list were quite annoying but we could simply use the generic fermentable and work around it.
    With this, I'm joining JA, done on this topic, too.
     
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  19. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    #19 J A, Aug 8, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
    Everybody's probably heard just about enough from the cranky old bastards for one day. :D
    It bears noting that the reason some of us are less than thrilled with some of the "improvements" is that we've spent literally years developing and refining recipes and procedures and archiving results and pertinent information based on this website and it's resources. A lot of the changes over the last year or so have not enhanced our experience and in some cases brought negative impacts. You'll have to excuse us for being a little protective and wary (and probably a little territorial). ;)
     
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  20. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    We love hearing from you- please don't stop giving us feedback (positive OR negative). We depend on you to tell us what works, what doesn't, what you like, what you don't like, etc.
    I always tell the developers/owner these things if they miss it on the forum and they really appreciate the time you give us with beta testing, posting your comments, etc.
    We love that you care enough to share your thoughts with us.

    And for me personally, I've now met a couple of you in person and that is even better. So I know where you are coming from, appreciate you as friends and members of the Brewer's Friend family, and I read every single comment.

    Keep them coming!
     
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